Legend: A sage called Galavamuni had 360 daughters, and he offered them in marriage to Vishnu, who appeared in front of him as a Brahmachari of the Kasyapa gotram. Each was given in marriage to him ever day. On the final day, Vishnu appeared in the form of VarahaMurthy, combined all the 360 brides into one Akilavallinachiyar, and placed her on his left side.
History: Tirumangai Alwar in the 8th century AD sung about this shrine. The present structure dates back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Inscriptions from Kulottunga Chola I's period (1070-1120) states the existence of Kalichchingan Mutt, to which endowments were made. During the period of Vijayendra Chola (early 11th century), gifts were made by the Cholas for the upkeep of the temple. Inscriptions state Raja Raja Cholan's contributions here.
Temple: It faces the east and is the only one retaining the features of early Chola temples. The niche images around the sanctum include Vinayaka, Achyuta, Satya, Purusha and Vishnu Durga. The temple covers 2.5 acres. The mahamandapam in front of the sanctum has several carved pillars from the 15th century. Lakshmi Varaha Perumaal is seen in a standing position facing the east and the Utsavar is Nityakalyana Perumaal; Taayaar here is Komalavalli or Akilavalli Naachiyaar. The Moolavar Aadi Varaaha Perumaal is 9 feet high with his consort seated on his left thigh; Aadi Seshan and his consort are seen supporting him. The processional image is called Nityakalyana Perumal, and the first of his brides is enshrined in a separate sanctum. The vimana is called Yagna vimanam, or Kalyana Vimanam. Markandeya, Mahabali and Galava rishi worshipped Vishnu here.
Festivals: The annual Bhramotsavam is celebrated in the month of Chittirai. Other festivals include Vaiiuntha Ekadasi in the month of Margazhi; Garuda Sevai is held in the months of Aani, Aadi, Thai and Maasi.
(Last Updated on : 17-09-2010)
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